If a road is marked with a ban on passage, you are not allowed to enter. But what if there is an additional "residents free" sign underneath?
There are several hundred traffic signs in Germany – but not all of them appear with the same frequency. Every driver is probably familiar with the importance of everyday signs announcing speed limits, marking a no-stopping zone or pointing out a ban on overtaking. But then there are signs where it is not clear to everyone exactly what they are for. For example, the one with the orange oval on two waves or the orange arrow on the motorway. And there are also additional signs that cause confusion. This includes "residents free" – what exactly does that mean?
There is no legal definition of the term "resident"
One or the other may have experienced it before: You are already close to your destination, when suddenly a no-passage sign appears - but with a supplementary "residents free" sign underneath. Are you allowed to drive through – or not? The problem: According to the ADAC, there is no legal definition of the term "residents". Nevertheless, the case law has determined a meaning according to common usage and custom: According to this, a resident is someone who lives in a property adjacent to the road or has to visit it for a settlement. Any relationship with the neighbouring property is sufficient.
An additional "residents free" sign under a ban on the passage of cars and motorcycles - who is allowed to enter now? (Symbolic image) © Imagebroker/Imago
Which "concerns" entitle you to pass through an additional "Residents free" sign
According to the automobile club, the following occasions, among others, are considered "concerns":
- A visit from a local resident – although it doesn't matter if they're actually at home. The intention of the visit is sufficient.
- Unwanted visitors, such as a bailiff, are also allowed to enter.
- Anyone who picks up someone who has shopped in a shop located in the adjacent zone is also allowed to enter.
- Craftsmen who have been commissioned by a resident to work on his property are also entitled to enter.
- Likewise, persons whose "residency" is based on a legal relationship to the property are entitled to enter. For example, owners or tenants of an allotment.
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"Residents free" sign: Anyone who enters without authorization must expect a warning fine
If you drive into a residential street without authorization, you have to expect a warning fine of 50 euros. By bike, 25 euros are due. If you park your vehicle without being a resident, you may be fined 55 euros or more.
A special case is the "Residents free" sign under the traffic sign "Fahrradstraße" - cyclists are of course always allowed to drive through here. For motor vehicles, the above requirements apply.